Health

FG Inaugurates Committee on Digital in Health Initiative

The Federal Government has inaugurated a 20-man committee for the implementation of Nigeria Digital in Health Initiative (NDHI) geared towards transforming national digital healthcare architecture across the country.

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, while presenting letters of appointments to members of the committee recently in Abuja, said it is another milestone in the journey to transform Nigeria’s health sector.

Pate, informed that the committee which will be headed by the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa, is an initiative designed to herald significant transformation in the management of data in health care facilities.

According to him, “the digitalization of health records will improve patient’s experience, protection of patient’s data as well as improve patient’s health outcomes. Using this platform will improve the work life of health providers and aid policy makers and managers to improve on their effectiveness and efficiency and be able to hold other stakeholders accountable.”
Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa, said what existed before now, is a lack of uniform data collection and management that has presented the Nigerian healthcare system with numerous challenges. It has limited the development of the health industry, weakened our decision-making and has resulted in inefficient use of resources. This has made it difficult to have a comprehensive view of the healthcare environment.

“Our healthcare system further suffers from data fragmentation as only a small number of private institutions and federal institutions use Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Electronic Health Record (EHR) platforms to keep track of patient data, promote research, provide treatment, and manage operations and resources. While the majority still rely on rudimentary paper-based methods.”

He said, despite the existence of these few EMR/EHR platforms, none are standardized to integrate, collect, and manage data across institutions or built to succinctly share patient data in real time. This has led to significant quality gaps in the healthcare system. Therefore, the transition to a digital health infrastructure is not merely a choice but a necessity to revolutionize healthcare delivery in our country.

“The Digital in Health Initiative will show that digitalization in health goes beyond EMR/HER platforms. We want to rebuild and reposition the digital health environment to include: Data gathering; Data repository; Data servicing and Service regulation. The platform so created would be such that data can be easily validated and we shall start with an EMR system which just a part of the overall digital ecosystem, Dr. Alausa stated.”

The national unified EMR platform will serve as a central hub to enhance health system efficiency, ensure robust monitoring of public health and disease outbreaks, mortality rates, facilitate seamless data exchange and quality assurance, and foster opportunities for further research to strengthen our national health security. It will also hold our various institutions accountable, and ultimately, allow us to have ownership of our data from the primary to the federal healthcare level for the first time in Nigeria’s history.

The inaugurated committee will midwife data policy, regulation, repository management and serve as an ombudsman to establish a national digital health environment that will support the scale-up of our digital health interventions such as our national unified EMR platform in the first instance.

Related Articles